Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Criminal Law
It is very common to be filled with questions when you or a loved one is facing criminal charges. Below, I have provided answers to some of the most common questions I receive from prospective clients and their families.
After reading, you can contact me at Lewin Law Firm, PLLC, to get your own questions answered in a free initial consultation.
I plan on pleading guilty. Do I still need to hire a defense attorney?
Yes, you do. Working with an attorney ensures that your rights are protected and often increases your legal options. Even if you plan to take a plea deal, the terms of that deal could be much more favorable if negotiated by your lawyer.
One final consideration: Nearly any attorney charged with a crime would seek the help of another attorney. Representing yourself in court is usually unwise, and the results can be disastrous.
What should I do immediately after being arrested?
Exercise your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Anything you say to the police after being arrested can be used against you later, so you should not agree to be questioned or interviewed without an attorney. Your communications about your case are confidential, and your attorney advises you on what to do and what to avoid while in police custody.
Do I need to answer questions police officers ask me?
Other than providing your name and other identification information, you are not obligated to answer questions without having your attorney present. As mentioned above, you have the right to remain silent, and you should invoke that right until you have had a chance to consult with a defense attorney.
Do I need to agree to let police officers search my home or my car?
No, you never need to give your consent. In most cases, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant (with few exceptions). If they have one, they won’t ask permission. And if they are asking, it is likely because they can’t legally conduct a search without your permission.
You gain nothing by consenting to a search. Doing so doesn’t make you seem “less guilty” to the police. By refusing your consent, you may be able to challenge the legality of the search later on.
If I get pulled over for suspected DUI, can I refuse field sobriety tests and breath tests?
Yes, you can. You have the right to refuse. You should know, however, that refusing testing can result in consequences like the loss of your license and can also be used against you in court. That being said, the consequences for refusing testing may be less severe than the consequences for a DUI conviction (depending on the circumstances). If you’ve been drinking and driving, refusing the tests may be a wise move.
How serious is a felony charge in Florida?
While felony charges range widely in severity, you need to treat any felony charge seriously by hiring an experienced attorney to help you address it. A felony conviction comes with both criminal and noncriminal consequences.
Do women ever get charged with domestic violence?
Yes, they do, and it is more common than you might expect. Speaking from personal experience, nearly half of the domestic violence defendants who contact my firm are women. No matter your gender or your relationship to the alleged victim, you need and deserve experienced domestic violence defense representation.
Get Your Questions Answered During A Free Initial Consultation
With an office in West Palm Beach, Lewin Law Firm, PLLC, serves clients throughout Florida. If you have questions about your criminal charges or want to discuss your legal options, send an email to me, attorney Daniel Lewin, or call 561-425-6250 today.